Halep ig­nores death threat to reach semis

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY RY­LAND JAMES

Ro­ma­nia’s Si­mona Halep shrugged off death threats from a stalker to take her place in the semi­fi­nals at the WTA tour­na­ment in Stuttgart by beat­ing Italy’s Sara Er­rani on Fri­day.

The 23-year-old Halep, ranked third in the world, had re­ceived a death threat via Twit­ter on Thurs­day from a Dan­ish fan.

The Stuttgart tour­na­ment’s or­ga­niz­ers con­firmed they have stepped up se­cu­rity around her.

“I can’t com­ment on it. I am here to play ten­nis. Other peo­ple will take care of it,” said Halep af­ter her 6-4, 6-4 win over Er­rani in a tight quar­ter­fi­nal on the in­door clay court.

The ob­sessed fan is be­lieved to have bom­barded Halep with a se­ries of mes­sages via so­cial me­dia.

The Ro­ma­nian showed no signs of the off-court dis­trac­tion to claim victory which is set to see her take Maria Shara­pova’s place as sec­ond in the world rank­ings on Mon­day.

She fi­nally con­verted her fourth match point against Er­rani in a match which fea­tured 16 breaks in the 20 games.

“It was a tough game, she de­fended very well and it was hard to fin­ish points off against her,” said Halep.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to the semi­fi­nals now.” Halep, the 2014 French Open fi­nal­ist, now faces for­mer world No. 1 and boxing fan Woz­ni­acki af­ter the Dane floored Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0, 6-3 in just over an hour.

“I sur­prised my­self by hav­ing fun out there to­day, I don’t nor­mally like clay, but it was nice to slide and run,” said fourth-seed Woz­ni­acki, who says she some­times spars in train­ing.

“I like to box from time to time, it’s a great car­dio work-out,” added the 24-year-old.

Halep is the high­est seeded player still in Stuttgart af­ter reign­ing cham- pion Shara­pova, who had won all of her three pre­vi­ous tour­na­ment ap­pear­ances in Stuttgart, was beaten by Ger­many’s An­gelique Ker­ber on Thurs­day in the sec­ond round.

Ker­ber also reached the semi­fi­nals with a straight sets win over sixth-seed Eka­te­rina Makarova of Rus­sia.

The 27-year-old needed just an hour for a 6-3, 6-2 win to cel­e­brate her ninth win in suc­ces­sion af­ter win­ning the Charleston tour­na­ment a fort­night ago.

“I’m speech­less over how amaz­ing the at­mos­phere is here on the cen­ter court,” beamed Ker­ber.

“I have re­dis­cov­ered my joy and pas­sion for ten­nis and I am en­joy­ing ev­ery minute on court,” she said, hav­ing bro­ken a poor run of re­sults with her win in South Carolina.

In the semi­fi­nals, the in-form Ger­man will play Madi­son Bren­gle of the U.S., who re­cov­ered from los­ing the first set to beat Caro­line Garcia of France 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

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